Deflationary innovation tends to be a nice way of saying necessity is the mother of invention.
Economic pressures are forcing a lot of IT organizations to get a lot more innovative about their approach to IT. For the past year, most of the innovation with cloud computing has focused on utilitarian applications like backup and recovery and applications not previously deployed.
In 2010, we're in the early stages of moving mission-critical applications to the cloud, according to Raj Badarinath, a senior vice president who heads up the CRM practice for the IT consulting service firm Patni Computer Systems. But before that happens, IT organizations first need to examine their application portfolio. After years of economic growth followed by a sharp downturn, companies still have a lot of redundant applications and paying monthly fees for redundant applications doesn't make sense.
At the same time, IT organizations need to see advances in virtualization performance to make sure these mission-critical applications can run at acceptable speeds in the cloud. While it's true that a cloud computing provider could run these applications on physical servers at less cost, most cloud computing providers are trying to leverage virtualization in a multi-tenant architecture to keep their costs down.
Only once those two processes are complete can most IT organizations really entertain cloud computing for their mission-critical applications. Over time, this shift will most certainly happen, and in the end, about 80 percent of a company's servers will be accessed throught the cloud. As part of that process, however, many IT organizations will have to re-engineer their mission-critical applications to create modular components that can be deployed in a service-oriented architecture. That, too, will take some time, with about 20 percent of mission-critical code running on premise while other modules run in the cloud.
If you're getting the sense that moving mission-critical applications to the cloud is going to be more of a journey than an event, you're probably right. No doubt this process will take years to complete, and once it does, IT organizations will find themselves playing the role of integrators of services.
In the meantime, business executives are going to be looking at financial models and asking when more of the company's applications will be running in the cloud. So the hardest thing about all this might just be explaining to them why they need to be patient in order to make all this happen in a way that does more good than harm.